Tips for Hosting a Clothing Swap Party

I know I’m not alone in starting this year with a real fire lit under me to start cleaning and de-cluttering our house. I first read Marie Kondo’s book a few years ago, but with her new show, she’s somehow getting even more popular, and I am on the wagon!

After doing a major closet cleaning, my friends and I decided that we would have a little clothing swap party to see if we could find some new items that “spark joy,” all without spending a penny! It was SO MUCH FUN!

I ended having a small get-together, which was just as much for the company as for anything else. A couple of my close friends from work and I are always admiring each other’s style and wear similar sizes, so this was an easy guest list to put together.

Admittedly, I would have fun doing just about anything with these girls, but the clothing swap was truly a blast! Of course, there was the excitement of getting something new for free! But on top of that, it was a great feeling to see things that I really liked but just didn’t work on me fit perfectly on my friends. Not to mention, there were some good stories behind some of these items!

A couple of my favorite “new” items are this leather tote bag and the little pendant necklace on the dresser.

Even though our party was small, I take party planning seriously, so I’ve gathered some of my best tips for a clothing swap of any size!

Before the party

  • Choose your guest list, considering people’s styles and sizes. Your guests don’t all have to have the same style or size, but it helps if everyone has at least one or two people who would be good matches
  • Choose the types of items to include – besides clothes, consider accessories, such as scarves, bags, jewelry, and shoes. Set guidelines about quality and condition of items, as well as how many items you want to include
  • Prepare your space with room to display clothes, as well as places to try things on and a mirror – since I invited just a couple of close friends, I actually hosted in my bedroom, which was the easiest place to find hanging space and mirrors!
  • Provide snacks, keeping in mind things that can be eaten while shopping
  • Consider adding signs and cute shopping bags as decorations

At the party

  • Arrange items neatly by category to make it easier to browse
  • Allow a window-shopping period, so everyone gets a chance to discover their favorite finds
  • Decide on an order for “shopping,” for example by drawing lots or based on how many items each person brought
  • In a larger group, allow one person or a small group to shop at a time, and decide on a limit for each group – either a maximum number of items or a fixed amount of time
  • Since there were just three of us, we just tried things on and checked in with each other before claiming an item – it was so easy and fun!

I’m a little sad it will take us years to accumulate enough stuff for another swap, but we’ll definitely find another excuse to get together and have fun soon!

Julie aka “Jewels”

Big Closet Dreams in a Small Space!

I can’t help drooling over pictures of gorgeous walk-in closets with romantic and glamorous touches. We gave up our walk-in closet when we created a fourth bedroom upstairs. I don’t regret this extra room, which was first a nursery and … Continue reading

Easy DIY Jewelry Display Board

Sometimes, every day feels like rush, rush, rush… get up, get ready, take the kids to school, work, back home, more kids and more work… I am very fortunate to love it all as much as I do, but the pace can definitely get to be a bit much!

Every once in a while, I have to remind myself to take a “time out.” All the work of home and job is never truly finished, and it’s okay to give yourself a few hours – or even minutes – to do something for yourself.

Tonight’s time out was sooooo easy and exciting.

I have been eyeing beautiful closet designs on Pinterest, planning out my own little spot of blingy bliss. One thing I knew I wanted to include was a way to display some jewelry. I ended up making this beautiful and super-easy magnetic display board that was ready in minutes!

The simple materials for this board were:

Easy DIY Jewelry Display Board | Jewels at Home

Easy DIY Jewelry Display Board | Jewels at Home

The rest of my closet nook is still coming together and will require a bit more elbow grease than this easy project, but I hope I can show it to you soon!

“Jewels” (no pun intended!!)

Laundry Area Organization: Loads of Charm

When we moved into our house, we renovated the upstairs, and one of our goals was to bring the laundry up from the basement. With the kids, we do so much laundry that I knew this would be a huge improvement for us: no lugging baskets up and down the stairs, no descending into the damp basement daily.

And, indeed, we love having the laundry  close to our bedrooms – well, as much as one can use the word “love” in association with dirty clothes and folding. The laundry area moved to a small hallway next to the kids’ bathroom, which makes it easy for them to drop their things in the hamper when changing. The new location also means that we can quickly start loads, without going out of our way, and we can sort and fold in the comfort of a bedroom.

Of course, there are limitations to the new laundry arrangement, too. Because the area was added on, rather than part of the original house design, it’s small: just enough room for a stacked washer and dryer and a few shelves. And because it’s in the hallway, the laundry area is constantly visible – no shutting the doors to hide clutter!

On the bright side, decorating a small space is a doable project! Here’s our laundry area “before.” Not much to work with but also a manageable task that won’t drag on like our powder room.

laundry area before

BEFORE: top of laundry area

laundry area before - bottom

BEFORE: bottom of laundry area

Most of the examples of laundry room designs feature full rooms, and it was hard to apply those ideas to our little space. When I saw this laundry closet makeover by Amy at eat.sleep.decorate., I felt like it was just the inspiration I needed! I love the pretty storage baskets – all tied together by the cheerful green color scheme, but varied to give visual interest and a homey feel. I don’t always like designs to be symmetrical, but I think it works here, where there are so many things in a small space. The labels are adorable and functional too – even in a small space, where you basically know where things are, labels really help in both finding things quickly and in keeping things organized – you (and your family members – nah, who am I kidding?) are more likely to return things to their proper place, when it’s clearly labelled. Finally, I agree with her that a touch of art on the wall really makes this laundry area feel like a part of the home, rather than just a utilitarian necessity.

Amy's laundry closet

My inspiration: Amy at eat.sleep.decorate. created this fresh and organized laundry area. Click the picture to see her entire post with lots of great tips.

Go to eat.sleep.decorate.

I started by taking inventory and sorting what we had in the area:

  • Hampers for dirty clothes – I like to have separate ones for colors and whites, which makes starting loads easier, though we occasionally get things reshuffled by our toddler!
  • Baskets for clean clothes – I have one labeled for each child and a few extras.
  • Detergent, stain remover
  • Bags – mesh ones for delicates and wet-bags for cloth diapers.
  • Container for coins and other pocket treasures.
  • Other – garment drying racks, towels, cleaning supplies, etc..

Then I collected a variety of storage baskets to fit with the blue and white color scheme. Like the symmetry, a very simple color scheme works here, because it makes the area look less “busy.” I made some fabric-covered boxes for the top shelf (more on making those boxes in another post!) and the rest were items we had around the house. I love using the “root” basket for collecting coins and other odd items from pockets. It has a bit more style than you would expect for the laundry room, but I wasn’t using it for anything else at the moment, and its rustic shape and material contrasts nicely with the neat white and blue.  I moved around the shelves a little, to make things more accessible, too.

laundry after

AFTER: top of laundry area is neat and bright!

laundry after

AFTER: bottom of the laundry got a little sprucing up, too!

Amy used printables for her labels, and I think they look great. I don’t have a color printer, so I decided to print simple labels in black and white on this paper with blue and white clouds. I “laminated” them with clear contact paper and attached them to the containers either with clothespins or rickrack ribbon. For those, I punched holes, attached them to the baskets with safety pins, then hid the pins with a bit of ribbon.


The labels help make the space feel organized. I tied these on with a bit of white rickrack.

And for the final touch, some art! There are a lot of great ideas out there for laundry area art – vintage soap ads, wooden signs, etc.. I decided to do a simple wall decal. I’ve been hooked on decals since I did one in our nursery. Etsy has a lot of great ones with cute phrases, clothespin motifs, and more. I liked this laundry line decal and decided to try making one myself.

laundry decal

Adorable clothesline decal from Vinyl Wall Accents shop on Etsy. Click the picture to see all their designs and color options.

Go to shop on Etsy.

To make my decal, I cut a piece of white contact paper the size of the area I wanted to cover. On the back, I sketched my design. If you try this, remember that the finished decal will be a mirror image of your drawing – not an issue in this case, but definitely important if you are doing letters! Also, I freely disclose that I have never tried using contact paper to make a decal, and I’m not entirely sure that it is safe for the wall, but it is supposed to be removable, and from a quick browsing of the internet, it looks like other people have tried this, so I was willing to assume the risk (daredevil, I know!).


To make your own decal from contact paper, sketch your design – in reverse – on the back of the paper. Then cut it out and hang!

laundry wall decal

I made the clothesline decal for our laundry area from white contact paper. It adds the perfect finishing touch!


Close-up of the wall decal, cut out of white contact paper.

By the way, working on this area has made me think about a recent change to the laundry duties at our house.  I have been the main person doing laundry in our house (hubby more than makes up for it in the kitchen!), and it is a lot of work! Recently, our oldest, who is eight, asked if he could earn some money. He had just lost $6.50, most of his saved spending money, because I made him pay for his purchased lunch, the third time he forgot the one his dad packed (told you hubby more than makes up in the kitchen!).  So, what I saw was a win-win situation: I could be relieved of some laundry duties, while he could earn some spending money and also learn how to do laundry. The latter isn’t trivial – there was a boy in my freshman dorm who turned his bed sheets pink by washing them with some red clothes. Honestly, this doesn’t just happen in sitcoms; I saw it with my own eyes!

A small part of me feels a bit guilty about our kid doing our laundry to earn money, like when he mentioned the other day, “It seems like what is a lot of money to me is not a lot to you,” which is true. But overall, I think we have a great arrangement – my son gets to learn some domestic skills and earn spending money; I get more time to browse Pinterest and do projects for the blog. Okay, I’m (partially) kidding – I do also use some of the time to get ahead on other things around the house.  And, I never tell our son he has to do the laundry, but for now, he’s so excited about it that we have to stop him sometimes!

So, when you are thinking of home decorating ideas, don’t overlook your laundry area, no matter how small.  It’s a place where we all spend a lot of time, so I hope you got some inspiration to make your laundry area a pleasant place to be, too!